Today I have an interview with the Marrium, the lovely Access Officer at Lady Margaret Hall. Marrium recently took me on a tour of LMH and it really is stunning. Despite performing in a play there, I had no idea that it had such vast grounds and beautiful gardens. We also had a delicious lunch in hall, where Marrium let me pick her brains about LMH's outreach programme and her experience as Access Officer. So there will be a series of blog posts detailing the interview!
So, you studied at Oxford and you’re now here as the Access Officer at LMH, so I’m guessing you enjoyed your experience – what is it about Oxford that kept you?
I’ve spent 5 years at LMH now including my stint working here – so I clearly haven’t been able to get enough of it! There’s no denying that Oxford’s an amazing place to be – physically it’s stunning, and intellectually it’s stimulating – but I think it was my experience of nearly not applying which kept me here in the job I’m doing. See, I applied to read English 2 days before the Oxford deadline in 2009 – I know! I left it that late because I was certain that I wasn’t the ‘Oxford type’, whatever that might be. I come from a low-income family where nobody went to Uni, and a school where nobody had ever tried to apply to Oxbridge - so I just didn’t think I was good enough, and didn’t have the foggiest about how the application process worked. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my interview (it was nothing like what the media had told me it would be – no properties of a banana were described in the process!) and by the people I met here. It’s so easy to think that Oxford’s a place for Martians, but I very quickly realised that the only thing everybody has in common here is their love of a subject. It still irks me even now when I think about how close I was to not applying, and it frustrates me that there are a number of people who have the same misconceptions I did, but probably don’t take the chance to see if they were wrong or not. I want to spread the message that Oxford takes people based on academic merit only – we want the best and brightest of students, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds.
What does your job as Access Officer involve?
Basically it involves ensuring that we’re putting accurate information about Oxford out there, so that each and every student who is capable of applying considers it. There’s a lot of mythbusting involved, and a lot of support to make the application process transparent. To name a few things: I run school visits, open days, personal statement workshops – but there’s also a lot of digital support involved. It’s a pretty cool job, and one I get to work alongside current LMH students with – one of my favourite things we’ve done together is launch a Snapchat Takeover Campaign where they take over our account for a ‘Day in the Life of a Student’ – we upload these to the LMHOxford Youtube account afterwards, if anybody wants to have a look!
More to come next week...